Saudi Arabia, UAE slam 'Houthi' missile attack in Yemen's Marib

Key players in Yemen war condemn Saturday's 'terrorist' attack that killed over 100 soldiers and blame it on Houthis.

    A soldier walks at the site of an alleged Houthi missile attack on a military camp's mosque in Marib, Yemen [Ali Owidha/Reuters]
    A soldier walks at the site of an alleged Houthi missile attack on a military camp's mosque in Marib, Yemen [Ali Owidha/Reuters]

    Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, key players in a military coalition battling the Houthi rebels in war-torn Yemen, have condemned a missile attack that killed more than 100 Yemeni soldiers.

    Saturday's missile strike blamed on the Iran-aligned Houthis follows months of relative calm in the conflict between the rebels and Yemen's internationally recognised government.

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    Yemen government sources said the Houthis attacked a mosque during evening prayers in a military camp in the central province of Marib, about 120km (75 miles) east of the capital, Sanaa.

    "Saudi Arabia strongly condemns the terrorist attack carried out by the Houthi militia," the kingdom's foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday.

    The assault "reflects this terrorist militia's disregard for sacred places and ... for Yemeni blood" the statement said, adding that it also "undermines the path to a political solution" to the conflict.

    The UAE also condemned the "criminal" attack, saying it "rejects all forms of violence that target security and stability".

    The death toll increased to 116 and is expected to rise, military and medical sources told AFP news agency on Monday. Early reports suggested 83 were killed and 148 injured.

    President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi said the attack "confirms without [a] doubt that the Houthis have no desire for peace" and denounced the group as "a cheap Iranian tool in the region".

    The Houthis did not make any immediate claim of responsibility for the strike.

    Death tolls in Yemen's grinding conflict are often disputed, but the high casualty in Marib represents one of the bloodiest single attacks since the war erupted in September 2014 when the rebels seized Sanaa, removing President Hadi's internationally recognised government.

    In March 2015, Saudi Arabia and its allies militarily intervened in the conflict.

    Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have been killed and millions displaced in the war that has ravaged the country, triggering what the United Nations describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

    Both sides in Yemen's war have been accused of war crimes and rampant human rights abuses.

    Saudi-led coalition air strikes and rebel shelling have drawn widespread international criticism for killing civilians and hitting non-military targets.

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    SOURCE: News agencies